Patriots' star Brady appeals four-game 'Deflategate' suspension

Thu May 14, 2015 6:59pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday formally appealed a four-game suspension for his role in "Deflategate" after his team, one of America's most high-profile sports franchises, delivered a blistering rebuttal of an NFL investigation into the matter.

The NFL players union, which filed the appeal on behalf of Brady, called for an independent arbitrator to hear the case involving one of the NFL's marquee players.

"Given the NFL's history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal," the union said in a statement announcing Brady's move.

Brady's appeal pits the NFL's most-popular player against the most-profitable sports league in the United States at a time when it is reeling from the stinging criticism it received for the way it handled players involved with domestic violence and a concussion settlement for retired players that could ultimately cost it $1 billion.

The league suspended Brady without pay for the first four games of next season, fined the club a record $1 million, and forced the Patriots to relinquish two draft choices for purposely deflating footballs used in the team's 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts that put it into the Super Bowl.

In a website created to dispute the findings of the investigation, the Patriots said the conclusions in the report were "incomplete, incorrect and lack context."

Two days after independent investigator Ted Wells steadfastly defended the conclusions he reached implicating Brady and two Patriots employees in the scheme, the team fired back.

"There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 psi and no evidence anyone even thought that he did," according to the team's counterclaim, written by attorney Daniel Goldberg, who represented the club and was present during all interviews of team personnel conducted at Gillette Stadium.   Continued...

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms-up ahead of the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona, in this file photo from February 1, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson